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Possible IBS or IBD?

Greetings! I have had digestive issues on and off since I was about 30, when I was diagnosed with IBS because of severe abdominal pains. I am now 57, and my symptoms have got a lot worse over the last year — frequently recurring diarrhea being the most bothersome, along with some mild cramping and general abdominal discomfort that comes and goes in association with the diarrhea. This flare-up started shortly after my elderly father passed away in June 2017 (I was his caregiver for seven years), and is the most significant flare-up I’ve had in nearly 20 years.

Numerous tests

Because of my current age, I have had numerous tests done over the last year, including blood tests, urine tests, an abdominal/pelvic ultrasound, abdominal/pelvic CT scan, food intolerance blood test (which revealed a gluten intolerance), and I have a colonoscopy scheduled for three weeks today. I should have had the colonoscopy done last February, but I chickened out because the prep scares me so much. All the completed tests have come back normal, except the CT scan indicated the possibility of “mild IBD“, which is why the colonoscopy was recommended.

My symptoms went away for a few months this spring and summer, then started up again at the end of July, even though I am eating gluten-free (or as gluten-free as I can — I admit I sometimes cheat). In the past three months, I have had numerous isolated bouts of diarrhea that usually occur every week or two. I usually only have one loose movement, occasionally two, and then normal bowel movements in between. The loose movements aren’t completely liquid — more sloppy than anything else, like the consistency of soft porridge (sorry to be so graphic). The diarrhea usually always occurs in the mid-afternoon or early evening and is preceded by gurgling sounds and urgency. I don’t get any symptoms at night, and I sure hope it stays that way.

At this point, I am assuming IBS that has been exacerbated by the “mild IBD”, but I am thinking of also having myself checked for Celiac disease and intestinal parasites. However, I want to wait until I get the results of the colonoscopy.

Rough year

Additional health issues include depression and anxiety (lifelong), dry eyes and early onset cataracts (which makes me wonder about Celiac), and osteoporosis diagnosed in my late 40s (again, seems to be a symptom of Celiac, according to my research).

Of course, my main fear is colon cancer, although there is no blood in my stool and the CT scan didn’t pick anything up that way.

I am hoping it’s just IBS and that my symptoms will gradually subside over time, as I continue to recover from my loss of Dad and adjust to another major life change that took place at the same time. It’s been a rough year, though, on many levels.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Sue225
    1 month ago

    Have you been tested for Sjogren’s syndrome? (autoimmune condition). Dry eyes is one of the symptoms. Specific bloodwork is checked. I have dry eyes, celiac disease and osteoporosis and IBS-C. I do not have Sjogren’s but the rheumatologist did do the bloodwork to rule it out.

  • CharlotteAB author
    5 months ago

    The colonoscopy went fine today. Thanks for asking! Absolutely nothing is wrong with my colon, which is fantastic news! Even the prep wasn’t that bad. On the downside, I am still having diarrhea 7 hours after the procedure, and it seems like the lunch I ate after coming home from the hospital went through my entire system in about 5 hours. I am hoping it’s just the after effects of the Purg-Odan I had to take last night and this morning as part of my prep, and that the diarrhea will ease off soon.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    5 months ago

    That is great news! Sorry to hear about the after effects, though. We’ve heard from other community members that their symptoms flared up after a colonoscopy. Really hoping relief comes your way soon! Take care. – Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • Chris Hall moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi, @charlotteab! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. My condolences to you and your family. It’s really tough that you had such a huge flare up on top of it. I can understand your reservation about getting a colonoscopy — a lot of folks here have expressed the same feelings. Do you have an appointment coming up soon? I hope that will help provide some answers! I’m so sorry this year has been so rough, and I truly hope things will be on the upswing for you soon. Please keep us updates with your results! – Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • CharlotteAB author
    5 months ago

    Thanks Chris. My colonoscopy is in three days and I’m terrified. I’m so scared they’re going to find cancer. I could happily deal with anything besides that, so I’m praying that it’s just IBS, or even IBD.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    5 months ago

    Just wanted to check back in with you, @charlotteab. How did everything go? – Chris

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